Justin L. Hocking
Date of Award
Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) in Creative Writing and University Honors
American literature -- Indian authors
My goal as a writer is to contribute to the growing number of Native voices in contemporary memoir, as well as to continue a longstanding tradition of Indigenous creative nonfiction. I also hope to assist in the important work of ushering the voices of First Nations people out of the linguistic prisons of the past and into present-day discourse. In doing so, I will underscore the importance behind the demand for Native spaces in academia and politics. Using memoir, I’ll show some of the ways in which abusive social structures replicate themselves on smaller levels like one's family, and demonstrate how the reiteration of one's personal narratives constitutes an act of self-determination. My desire to keep these pieces in their original two-inch margins is primarily due to the channelizing, centrally striking effect it lends the narrative--a buoy to pace and flow. This decision is also an homage to Elissa Washuta's memoir "My Body is a Book of Rules," and the form and style in which she presents the most personally impactful of her sections. As a means to integrate and incorporate traumatic memories into my past and possess them instead of the other way around, nearly all of these pieces are written in first person perspective. Formally as well as spiritually, Washuta and I are part of the same conversation, though my work is made distinct by its queer dimensions. Nativeness and queerness mesh well as non-normative states of being despite the continental, colonial context of queer theory, but as Native narratives written and presented in the colonizer’s language, these stories can at best only allude to the role of indigeneity in my life. Conversely, this form could also represent a Native voice attempting to speak in spite of being hemmed in by an all-encompassing whiteness. Either way, much like Indigeneity, these stories are inextricably linked to body and place. Both concepts meet here on the page.
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Warren, Jacob K., "Notes from a Native Son and Other Stories" (2018). University Honors Theses. Paper 624.